I’m excited about the opportunity to speak at a dinner for writers soon. In preparation of that I was asked a question about a post on my blog. You know the post, or posts. The subject that keeps coming up again and again – my brown shoes.
Since I have posted different times about my brown shoes I was asked where I was going with those shoes. It made me laugh at first because I have been going to many places with those shoes – to the grocery store, to the airport, to different places to teach, to restaurants for lunch with friends and even to the ladies’ Bible study that I’ve been leading in my home. I know that going to literal places is not what they meant by that question of where am I going, but in a way it is. And it’s a good question.
You remember the shoes. Those brown, leather and oh-so-comfortable shoes that I can just slide my feet right into as I walk out the door. My favorite shoes. And you remember that when my first pair of those favorite brown shoes looked worn I went to the store and was able to replace them with a new pair of the same shoes. Oh, that was a happy day! But over time that second pair of brown shoes began to look just like my first pair and, oh, that was a sad day when I realized that they were worn out, too. But then I discovered brown shoe polish. I polished my shoes and they looked like new again. I can’t even begin to explain to you the excitement in my heart over my newly polished shoes. I could wear them everywhere without being ashamed of how worn my favorite comfy shoes looked. As I wore my shoes, I could polish them over and over again to keep them looking nice. But that much work only lasts for so long.
So what did I do? I kept one pair nicely polished and stored away in its box for times when I needed to wear shoes that looked fresh, clean and perfectly polished. And the rest of the time I just walked right out of the house wearing my favorite brown leather comfy, well-worn shoes. As I think about that now I realize that while maybe we don’t all have favorite shoes or even two pairs of the same favorite shoes so we can keep one pair in a box for special times, we do wear different faces depending on where we are going. Sometimes we can just be ourselves in our comfy well-worn shoes like when we shop at our local grocery store or meet friends for lunch, but at other times we don’t let others know we have those well-worn shoes and we put on our nice shoes, as if we have everything all together.
Over the last few months I have been leading a ladies’ Bible study in my home about marriage, which has been a lot of fun. I so enjoy spending time with other ladies who love God and also their husbands! As I shared some of my own mistakes from my early years of marriage we laughed and learned together. It was like I put on my well-worn shoes and let everyone see them. Well, actually, most of the days I’m pretty sure that I was wearing my actual well-worn shoes. But what happened was that the other ladies saw that I don’t always have it all together. And that it’s okay to learn and grow each day. And while I wore those worn-out shoes something happened. The ladies quickly felt comfortable to share about their own struggles and victories as the room became a safe place to put on our well-worn shoes together and just be real. Because of that we were able to surround each other with prayer and support each other. Don’t you love wearing your well-worn shoes with good friends? The whole series was such a special Bible study time together. Because I wore my favorite brown leather worn-out shoes.
There are times to put on my nicely polished shoes, though. Like when I go out with my husband or speak somewhere. I wore them recently to a fundraising banquet for a ministry that I volunteer with. It is important to look our best! However, sometimes we choose to look our best, like maybe on Sunday mornings, when really we just need to put on our worn-out shoes, be real and allow someone to see that we don’t have it all together.
First Peter 5:5 says, “…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble,’” (NIV).
I guess I clothed myself with humility as I put on my worn-out shoes and shared with my Bible study friends. It has been so neat to watch God work in our lives as we have shared with each other. So I guess for now that is where I’m going with those shoes, which is wherever God leads me, whether it’s in a time to wear my nicely polished shoes or in a time to wear my worn-out shoes.
So here’s my question for you today: What shoes will you wear?